Lisa Simone Richards is a Toronto-based PR professional, focused on the health, fitness and wellness industry. Here's how she uses FreshBooks to run a thriving business.
Entrepreneurship was something bred in me from an early age. Growing up, my father had a full-time job and ran a business on the side. So he always encouraged me to go the entrepreneurial route, but I made my way into entrepreneurship all on my own, following a similar path going from side-hustler to working for myself full-time.
With FreshBooks, the idea of taking out the *guesswork* was all I needed to hear.
A decade ago, I started my career in public relations and got a taste of a number of working worlds—corporate, agency, small business. From all my experience, there was one type of client I was the most attracted to: I loved working with entrepreneurs. That’s what inspired me to break out on my own and start my first company, Vitality PR & Communications, and then this year, launch my consulting practice at LisaSimoneRichards.com. Both businesses help fitness, health and wellness entrepreneurs go from unknown and underpaid to standing out and selling out.
Entrepreneurship wasn’t something I just blindly dove into, however; it was a transition. Before leaving my last full-time job, I began working with small clients on the side before switching over. I’ve been a solopreneur for 3 years now, focusing my PR efforts in the fitness, health and wellness field—a market that I believed was still largely untapped in Canada.
Entrepreneurship Is a Long Learning Journey
When I launched my first business 3 years ago, I thought I would just pick up from where I left off in my career. Owning my own business, however, I experienced two big pain points.
Managing my time: When I first started out, I still worked a full-time job, so learning to balance my time between the two roles was tough. As more time passed, my client roster also started to grow, so time management was a huge obstacle.
Finding confidence in charging my worth: Initially, I had trouble asserting my worth and justifying it. I think it’s a challenge that needs constant attention; there’s a lot of mindset work because pricing is unique to every person. You’re less likely to ask others about their rates because then you’ll set yourself up within the confines of their pricing model.
Ditch the Spreadsheets for a Better Solution
When I first started my business, I managed all my paperwork on a spreadsheet. I quickly realized spreadsheets were a taxing task so, within a month, I was searching for a better solution. That’s when I remembered that a former colleague was working for FreshBooks.
With FreshBooks, the idea of taking out the *guesswork* was all I needed to hear. At the time, I was experimenting with hourly billing, flat rates and project rates. Without a better solution, I’d have to manually estimate how many hours I used, keep track of it, then multiply it by the rate per hour. At that point, it would be easier to use a plug-and-play system—and FreshBooks was that for me.
I Get Paid Faster: My biggest use for FreshBooks is for my invoicing. I love that I can set up recurring payments and know exactly when a client has paid me.
I Can Easily Log Business Expenses: I also use FreshBooks for expense tracking (although I haven’t been as on top of that as I should be lately). I just love the ease of taking a picture of the receipt and uploading it right away to the program. So even if I am a little behind, it’s such a seamless experience.
I Have a More Accurate Read on My Business: When tax season rolls around, my accountant can simply log in and collect all the information he needs. I’ve also started using my Reports for quarterly pulse-checks. I never really paid much attention to it before, until this year. It’s cool to compare where I am now versus where I was 12 months ago.
Success Is When My Clients Are Successful
I know I’ll always have a money and business management system in place, which is really encouraging.
As I mentioned before, I love working with my clients, so being able to measure their success is vital. Typically, I’ll work with a client for a period of 4 months, in which the first questions I ask are “What is the ultimate goal of this?” “Why are we doing this?” “What do we want to look back on and say we’ve achieved?”
Once I know what that is, that’s when I develop the plan and project estimate. I determine who their clients are, what they’re pitching, what they’re launching, what their messaging is about. Some things that can be measured are the number of placements we get, the traffic to the website, the number of registrations or relationships built. It really comes down to the requirements of each client, so my job is to ask all the questions that’ll help get them the shiny numbers they want to see at the end of the day.
Three Years with FreshBooks, My Business Has Really Taken Off
Since using FreshBooks, I can say my business has essentially tripled in terms of revenue. My client base also grew, as I’ve more than doubled my clientele since I first started. As I continue to grow and take on more clients, I’ve been fortunate enough to start my consulting business, and FreshBooks has really helped me manage that too.
With FreshBooks, I know I’ll always have a money and business management system in place, which is really encouraging. Whenever I need to, I can turn to FreshBooks to give me a breakdown of how my business is doing, so I can set bigger and brighter goals for the future.